"My advice is always making sure to improve your skills. Digital Marketing is a never ending process of learning and innovation. It’s always easy to get distracted as this field is actually quite overwhelming especially if you’re still starting, but remember don’t spread your wings too wide. Try to focus on one or two subjects - master them first, before moving on to others. After that, don’t stop. Repeat."
Hailing from Calabarzon, in the Philippines, Ma Theresa Martirez is an experienced Sales and Marketing Professional, currently working on a freelance basis. Previously employed by AXA, DHL, and Altisource Technology, Ma Theresa has plenty of advice to share to newbie digital marketers, especially when it comes to navigating the corporate world. Find out more about her career highlights and marketing experience, in our short interview below:
Name: Ma Theresa Martirez
Location: Calabarzon, Philippines
Occupation: Sales and Marketing Professional
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, and your career in marketing so far? What led you to working as a freelancer?
I’ve been in the field of sales and marketing for 10 years. Up to the date, my career is a combination of both corporate employment and freelancing. I have worked to some of the biggest company such as DHL Express, AXA Philippines, etc. These days, I am assisting clients from the US, Australia, Canada, UK. Although, my tasks are more on client relations, admin management and social media side, the bigger chunk of my work still falls on marketing management side.
What was your first job? What did you spend money on back then?
Looking back, I started my career as a sales representative and customer support in one of the biggest online travel agencies. The 18 years old ‘me’ was very grateful to get an offer from Hotels.com. Earning multiple recognition such as Top Customer Support, Top Achiever in meeting KPI's was like an icing on top as this was my first job.
After a couple of years, I moved to a local company here in the Philippines as Marketing Assistant/Coordinator, and that’s when my career in the field of Marketing started. The flow of my finances would always cover my personal and family expenses.
Prior to freelancing, you gained a considerable amount of experience at AXA, DHL Express, and Altisource Technology, working across various roles in sales and marketing. What are a couple of key things that you learnt from these roles, which transfer over to your freelance work?
Currently, I am working as a freelancer and one of my clients is the CEO of a Digital Marketing Solution business based in Toronto, Canada but before working as a freelancer, I’ve spent years as a corporate employee.
The world of corporate developed and improved my technical and interpersonal skills. Mainly, I learned the art of time management and communication which I know play a vital role in my career as a freelancer.
Did you always want to work in marketing? What made you fall in love with the world of digital and pursue it as a career?
As I have a Degree in Marketing Management, I’ve been exposed and taught how the field plays a role in the businesses. I fell in love with Digital Marketing because I wanted to learn more about SEO, PPC, Google Ads, and such. After a while, it never really crossed my mind to change my career.
Tell us about a company whose marketing strategy you admire and why?
I am currently working as a Digital Marketing Assistant for DIT Canada. I love how they perform their marketing whether it is in the traditional way or digital side. The mind behind their formulated strategy is the whole management, from top management to their normal staff. I admire how they gather the information from internal to external and afterwards, be able to conclude a competitive strategic approach.
What’s the best marketing advice that you’ve ever received?
Marketing is the art of innovation. You never stay in one place but you always try to blend into the current flow of the trend and society should you not want to be left behind with the past face changes we are all in. This was advice from one of my professor in college. And up until to this point I believe that this was the best one I heard about what marketing is all about.
Describe the most successful marketing campaign you have ever worked on. What made it so successful?
I was asked to formulate a strategic campaign to attract influencers in joining our cause of raising awareness of how poor environmental management would be the death of the next generation. As this is a sensible campaign, after doing some serious outreach to influencers, we got a good number of signed collaboration for the project. This is one of the projects I handled as Marketing Head for a non-profit organization.
Have you ever made a decision that went against your gut feeling? What was the result? What did you learn?
More often, I learn to go to what my gut is telling me however, there are times that data could overpower your gut feeling. In times like this, I opt to go to what the data is telling me to do as this is less risky and has a proven and tested result from the past experiences.
Can you tell us a little more about what it's like to work as a freelancer? Take your biggest client for example. What’s their mission?
DIT Canada, is a Digital Marketing Solutions service that helps their clients from various online activities. Their business mission is to deliver information the way that you (the client) want it, where you want it.
Storytelling is currently a big buzzword in marketing. How does DIT Canada tell stories? What is the brand story that you are trying to tell?
Non-traditional marketing is one of the biggest innovations we have experienced since the Digital Era started. And, storytelling dominated the field. Instead of opting to do the normal way of marketing the services DIT offer. They have blogs, client testimonials, and video interview from client’s experiences that showcases their achievements, offers and benefits and what’s in it to get them as a partner.
What does a typical day working on behalf of DIT Canada look like?
As a Digital Marketing Assistant I do the coordination for both internal and external parties. I manage the admin side such as client management, idea formulation, approval, client coordinator and such. This may look like a repetitive task but I actually enjoy it.
Tell us a bit about your martech stack. What couldn’t you live without?
Since the business is all about Digital Marketing Solutions the company actually uses different channel such Social media platforms, email, Google Ads, SEO, PPC, and Google my Business.
What are three components of a successful inbound or digital marketing strategy at DIT Canada?
I see that they are heavily invested in attract, engage, implementation stages - and then do it all again!
What is the biggest digital marketing challenge that that organisation faces?
As digital agency nowadays is getting popular hence the number of competition is getting higher as well. Thus, this lead to continuous innovation of strategies, up to date product services offer within a niche or general market and of course, top notch customer service experience.
What does data-driven marketing mean at DIT Canada? How do you leverage data to inform your decision making?
Just like how data driven decision gives lesser risks for business, making decision from data driven marketing is a better choice and less risky for a business such as digital marketing agency.
How have you structured your work since the COVID-19 pandemic?
Although luckily the business could actually move forward, using mostly online communication and such, there were naturally some changes to my work day when it came to meetings and collaborating on tasks. As most companies were affected by COVID-19 more generally, as an organisation, we are doing our best to cooperate and raise awareness about the issues, safety measures, and protocol for the pandemic.
In terms of the recent shift working from home, do you think this is long overdue for many organisations or unsustainable in the long run?
Different businesses require different attention. Good thing that we are actually in modern time, most of the businesses could adapt to working from home set up. So far, everyone is still trying to get pass on the shock of the effect of the pandemic hence, we are still in the early stage of transition. This maybe a good thing for most but couldn’t be confirmed for all.
What are some digital marketing trends that you believe we should watch over the next 12 to 18 months?
SEO and PPC are two of the services of digital marketing that are getting a lot of attention these days. I believe that in the coming month more business would be attracted to get their hands on SEO and PPC. This is good to offer for almost all kind of businesses and industries.
What advice would you have for young professionals working in digital?
My advice is always making sure to improve your skills. Digital Marketing is a never ending process of learning and innovation. It’s always easy to get distracted as this field is actually quite overwhelming especially if you’re still starting, but remember don’t spread your wings too wide. Try to focus on one or two subjects - master them first, before moving on to others. After that, don’t stop. Repeat.
In the ever-changing digital marketing environment, learning is a constant cycle. Which websites, blogs, and/or courses, are your go-tos when it comes to staying up to date with industry developments?
Personally I read different blogs, whether it’s a personal experience or company blog. I often enrol in online classes on Udemy, and join different groups just so I can talk to experts or more experienced people.
If you had the time, what marketing skill would you like to improve? Why?
I would like to focus in PPC. I think this subject is quite interesting and PPC experts are in demand today.
What are you currently reading? Are there any marketing books that you’d recommend to someone fresh out of university?
Anything and everything under the sun is a good material to read. I’m currently enrolled in Udemy. Most of the lessons that I focus on are part of PPC courses.
What did you last watch on Netflix? Any recommendations for us?
Kingdom (South Korean TV series), I watched this with my whole family and relatives. Absolutely! This is a good series; we’re waiting for the season 3 to come out this year or next.
What do you do to push yourself out of your comfort zone?
I set a timeline for myself. It’s a very challenging task to do something out of norm or out of your comfort zone but in all honesty, life learning’s come from doing something that you’re not used to. Pushing yourself to your limit is what would make you improve.
Thank you Ma Theresa!